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l4-l5-s1 surgery

armelindarmelind South TexasPosts: 130
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in New Member Introductions
I was just given a diagnosis after 2 years of pain and doctors visits. Only after the discograph could they find the problem and only until recently could they see my problem on x-ray. I went to meet my surgeon on Tuesday (yesterday) and he took x-rays and they told my whole story.
Basically I have no disc at L-5, S-1 and my disc at L-5, L-4 is only 1/3 of the normal size. I have been in significant pain for 2 yrs but in the last 2 months the pain has increased exponentially. I am on Narco 10/325 2 tabs 3 times a day and one hydromorphone 2mg at bedtime plus I am on ambien and I take melatonin just to sleep. I cant sit in one position for more than 5 minutes. I wake up at least 15 times a night. I hope and pray that the surgery will give me some type of relief. The surgeon said I will get my 2 discs taken out and replaced with a protein that causes bone growth and my spine will be supported with a rod.
What are the chances I will feel semi-normal again. I am 1 step from the breaking point and if I have to go through this much longer I will take drastic measures.


  • i feel your pain,and what kind of test is this?i myself live with dailey pain,and just wondering about this test you had.and wondering what kind of surgey you are having?good luck,keep us posted lisa
  • armelindarmelind South TexasPosts: 130
    That is where the doctor goes in with needles and radioactive dye and a flouroscope. The doctor inserts needles and dye into each disc one at a time and pressurizes them to see if they "leak". My doctor went to L-3,L-4 L-4,L-5 and S-1,L-5. the last 2 leaked while the first one held the dye. He showed it to me on the flouroscope photo. Until that day, MRI's, Cat Scan and X-rays showed nothing wrong except for a minor disc herniation at L-4, L-5. So after the results he sent me to a surgeon that took x-rays and for the first time I was able to see problems and that meant my back had gotten significantly worse in the last 6 months. Pain has increased too.
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  • i need to get this done,i have a large herinated disc at l5s1 with a bulging disc of the fibrosis what ever that means,but its causing spinal stenosis.mine pain never goes away either,i have had pain for 5 years.and on pain meds for 5 also.but i am to the point where i cant take it anymore.it has no mercy.who do i see for this test.my nuerosurgeon.i had 1 consultion so far,and he said he would do the surgey,the less evasive one.my legs hurt so bad,the deep buring is always there,the disc pain is always there.but at the same time i am getting enough infomation as i can.good luck and thankyou for the informationkeep us posted.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am sure your surgeon is giving you some type of recovery odds!! with all things working out well i don't know why you can't be pain free!! i wish you the best of luck if surgery is the way you go.be sure and get that second opinion!! the more conformation you have the better your surgery.. stop by the forum anytime and especially if you are feeling really down. there is always someone around and we are a very friendly group!! be sure and check out the "Back and Neck surgery forum" for more input! Jenny :)
  • armelindarmelind South TexasPosts: 130
    I am just waiting for approval from my insurance. I hope it is soon.
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  • armelindarmelind South TexasPosts: 130
    I am going to a pain specialist. I guess he is supposed to help me deal with the pain with meds and different therapies and he performs different diagnostics to find the cause of the injury. He is the one that performed the procedure.

    The test is fairly straight forward. They give you a sedative and keep you awake to see if you feel any new pain or an increase in pain. They stick big hollowed out needles into the suspect discs and pressurize them with radioactive ink while looking at the discs through a flouroscope. When they get the correct disc you feel your normal pain but more until they stop pressurizing it then the pain goes away.

    My surgeon told me that I will have the bad discs removed and fuse my spine and put metal rods. One of my discs is basically gone and the other is 1/3 the normal size. So they arent doing their job. So I will have the metal rod to support my spine and they said they will put a protein in there to encourage bone growth where the discs were. I am sure every person has a different solution to their particular problems so I wont suggest anyone have this done without careful diagnosis and consultation from several doctors.

    After the procedure it is sore but not anything worse than my normal back pain. At least that was for me.
  • Hope your insurance approval comes through soon.

    Do start preparing for your surgery and recovery now and read the topic at the top of the Surgery page on Post-Op Must Haves, if you haven't already.

    Recovery will take a long time and there will be good and bad days. There's also another good topic at the top of the Surgery page - I think it's called How Long Will It Take.

    I'm so happy that I had a fusion done because I've got my life back again.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Wanted to welcome you! I am sorry you are going through this, and I know that waiting is very hard ( I too am waiting for a fusion )

    Trish gave you great advice on what to read up on. The more we know and the better prepared we are going into surgery, I believe the better.

    As the day comes closer, take some time out to do something special for yourself. A bit of pampering is always nice.

    Please let us know when you get a date and how everything goes. Wishing you a quick date and wonderful painless days ahead.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Armelind, What were your initial symptoms? I have been told by my PM that I should have the same test. I still do not have a diagnosis after a year of tests, shots, & RFA(failed). Also, did your symptoms gradually worsen over time or did they stay the same from the beginning? Thanks
  • armelindarmelind South TexasPosts: 130

    Ouchithurts - I had a pain like normal (I have had various back pain since I was 16) but after 2 weeks it never went away. That was Sept 2008. As time went by, I went to serveral doctors and had the various tests but nothing showed any damage. But I was put on meds to manage the pain. After a year with one doctor and no change, I went to a different doctor and they referred me to a Pain Specialist and after 8 months of diagnosis and tests and gradually increasing pain, I got the discograph. I was referred to a surgeon after my first diagnosis from the discograph. The surgeon took x-rays and FINALLY you could see the discs not there and since January with meds my pain has been increasing nonstop. After the discograph my pain has gotten significantly worse. So basically, at first, it felt like normal pain that just wouldnt go away and as time passed it did get more intense as my condition progressed.

    Ouch2- I am preparing for surgery. I have my last will and testament and all my stuff in order in the event of a bad situation but other than that I am VERY anxious and relieved that I will finally possibly see an end to this torture. My surgery date is set for May 23rd. I plan on doing everything and more to get back to my life. I have my daughter's graduation to go to on June 1... I WILL NOT MISS IT! and thanks for the advice, I will read up on these articles.

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